Zoom In — Zoom Out



Iterating between zooming-in and -out is an essential aspect of Observing. When moving on this Observation Axis, you start exploring a wider field of view — the bigger picture — and then you pick a part of the picture to examine in higher resolution. After Observing the chosen detail, you zoom-out to gain insights on how that detail fits in context and affects it. Then you pick another fragment of the picture to explore.

When you Zoom Out and Observe a subject in a broader context, two things happen. First, the change of context will affect your understanding of that subject or the impact it has. Second, you are forced to ignore some of the details (or reduce their weight in the overall picture), and this, in turn, changes how you see the subject and the insights it may trigger.

When you Zoom In you are not just Observing a concrete detail with more attention — you turn it into a standalone subject. Each detail becomes an ingredient you can later use in future creations.

Zoom In — Zoom Out is an infinite axis. You can always find a new zoom level that will lead you to new insights.

Your ability to seamlessly and continually zoom-in and zoom-out affects any instance of Creativity, whether it is solving a problem, identifying an opportunity, or creating artwork.

This practice affects not only the collection of ingredients but any part of the creative activity. When you are engaged in an activity, zooming out and back in will provide invaluable insights for fine-tuning your journey.

actionable steps

No matter what you observe, Zoom Out to explore its context, how your observed subject fits into that context, and how it affects it.

Zoom In to explore a specific part of the observed subject. Explore it as if it is a standalone detail — a new subject. Then Zoom Out again and revisit its context.

Zoom Out further to explore an even wider context.

Don’t use only one zoom-level. Try different zoom-levels, including ones that tend to be in your blind-spot.


Example 1

When exploring an artwork, take a physical step back to see the bigger picture even if the details blur. Then, zoom-in by picking a detail and exploring it as if it stands by itself. Zoom-out again to see the detail in context. Zoon-out further, figuratively, and get familiar with the artwork’s background story and the artist who created it.

Example 2

When engaged in a task that is a part of a project, take a break to explore or revisit its context: how it affects the project, are there better alternatives, and what can you do to better serve the project. Then zoom-in again to the details of your task.

related practices

further exploration

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